A set of Twitch emote modifiers intended to celebrate America’s Hispanic Heritage Month have had rather the opposite effect. Complaints poured in on social media arguing the emotes were based on Mexican stereotypes – and now the images have been removed.
The emote modifiers – which included maracas, a sombrero and a guitar – were criticised for oversimplifying and homogenising Hispanic cultures by using common Mexican stereotypes. “We’re a lot more than maracas, sombreros, and guitarras,” said one Twitter user. “Maybe speak to some of us?”
In response to the criticism, Twitch has now removed the emote modifiers – and issued an apology.
“We launched these emote modifiers today as part of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month but we clearly missed the mark, and we apologise,” Twitch said on Twitter. “These were not an appropriate representation of Hispanic and LatinX culture, and we’ve removed them.”
While the emotes were well-intended, it seems Twitch misjudged how it represented Hispanic and LatinX cultures in this case. The company did, however, make a speedy U-turn and apology, which broadly seems to have gone down well online.
As for the rest of Twitch’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, which run from 15th September to 15th October, you can expect to see Hispanic and LatinX streamers given a spotlight on the front page of Twitch. Non-profit organisation Latinx in Gaming is also hosting a virtual summit called Unidos Online on its Twitch channel from 9th-11th October, which will spotlight Latinx creatives “in a series of segments ranging from panels, game tournaments, cook-offs, and more”.